- Date: January 24, 2010
- Teacher: Pastor Star R. Scott
- From Friends
Hallelujah! Amen. We want to continue to look at this aspect of friendship. We have talked about being the friends of God; we have talked about the need to be very conscious of whom we make covenant with, to whom we commit ourselves, in these last days, especially because there are going to come into our midst seducing spirits, and there will be the promotion of the doctrines of devils.
We know that there is going to be a defection from the faith; many are going to depart, the Scripture says, in these lasts days (1 Timothy 4:1). This morning someone asked me a question, and it was a very good question. I had made the comment that, if you are dead to self and to dependence upon other people then, when people defect and leave us, it shouldn't hurt you. The question was, "Does that mean there shouldn't be any pain?" I said that there is always emotional pain at losing these things; but we should not be devastated. It should not be that our dependency was on them. There shouldn't be an overvaluation of that relationship, which would cause us to become dysfunctional, to no longer be able to relate to others, to withdraw, and to guard ourselves. Those were the things we were talking about, the hurt and, many times, incapacitating effects that losses like this can have on people who are too dependent on, or put too great a value on, that. I think that is important for us to see; it is seen a little bit in what we have experienced here, through some people (not everybody). But a number of those who have left are so completely compelled to delve into what we are doing and what we think and what we say, while, at the same time, going around saying, "I have never been happier in my life, I've never been freer." If that is the truth, then praise God! Amen.
If you are doing the best you have ever done, spiritually, I have one thing to say about that: Praise God! That's all we have ever wanted for you from the beginning. Knock yourself out serving Jesus. That delights me. But many still have a compulsion to justify their leaving. We are talking about perverted relationships, and the dependency upon them, such that their contentment is not in Jesus and hearing "well done" from Him. It's very important that, in the way I have related to many of these people--and I think that in the proper relationship, when someone has chosen to divorce you or reject you or leave you, you wish the best for them--in light of the sovereignty of God (understanding that Father plucks up and He sends a sword to divide two against three), that I do not begin to be crippled by my emotions when what I have experienced is the will of God. If I am dead to my will (the way I think it should be done), there is no remorse, in the sense of death, because I have already died to self. Hopefully, that communicates it a little better than this morning.
I think the one thing Father has been really trying to work into my life in these last months, and especially in these last weeks, is that ability to really live in the moment. I'll give you some Scriptures: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow... Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34). Does anybody besides me have trouble with that? I was telling the men in the back, just before I came in, that one of things many of us do that distracts ourselves and wears us out, either through condemnation or trying to somehow project our wills, is this: Many of us are so caught up with finding the will of God that we fail to realize that we are in the will of God. Amen? I am right where God wants me right now; are you? Amen. So we rejoice in that, and we take no thought for the morrow. Not only do we not worry about the necessities of life, as Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you" (6:33), but taking no thought has to do also with understanding that the real issue at hand is God's care for us: the providence of God. "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matthew 6:32). He tells us by His Spirit, later, through the Apostle: "[Cast] all your care upon Him; for He careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Amen? So, as we come into that rest and apply it in so many areas of our lives, especially as it pertains to relationships and community, we talked about the need to really allow God to knit us together. We talked about not becoming distracted, even by believers. There are many believers whom we run into--and it's great to have relationships (in the sense that we are acquaintances, that we can share with one another), but I think many of us lose sight, again (and we are talking about the sovereignty of God) of where He has placed each of us in His desire to intertwine our lives, and how important that is, and why it is so necessary that, in the time we do spend together, we don't allow it to be perverted in thinking that our relationships are to be natural and social, but not spiritual. We need to have koinonia, not recreation. We need to have koinonia always worked into everything we do as the body of Christ. Be conscious of that: If you find yourself, the majority of the time, just sitting around talking about the mundane--"Let me tell you what I got at this yard sale. Let me tell you about the sale at the mall. Let me tell you about the ball game. Let me share the latest and greatest political news."--those, in and of themselves, aren't bad. But how can you, in the midst of all that, make sure that, when you have left, someone you have been talking to is edified, that these things are applied to spiritual needs in the body of Christ. The Scriptures say, in Deuteronomy, to train your children when you walk in the way and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7, 11:19). Amen?
You see, these things are to be practical, and they are to be constant. We do not have a spiritual life and a secular life; you can't compartmentalize these things. That's the problem we have even when we get together for fellowship. We think that somehow this is going to be the movie time and then, if we need to, if somebody brings it up, maybe we will have a time of prayer or share something. It should be in the midst, when we gather together for some type of social function. How many times, in the midst of all that, have needs been spoken and all the other activities stop? It is so natural to begin to care for one of the members of the body; now the emphasis is not on what we are eating or what the movie is, but the care of those around us. That's how the Holy Spirit moves. It cannot be compartmentalized; it has to be our life. We have to become so sensitive that, if, in the midst of the home movie or theater movie or whatever, the Spirit of God speaks to you, you get up and you walk out or you turn the thing off. If you're sitting around playing spades and something comes up in the conversation, you begin to minister the grace of God. Somebody shares something, and you share back; the next thing you know, you are talking; and the next thing you know, the game is over; and you have ministered to one another; and the day is over and you go your way. Amen.
Is that how you are living? Does this happen to you often? Because, I want to tell you something: We are to pray without ceasing; and I want you to hear the fact that prayer is not a one way communication. Prayer must always be hearing the voice of God. Are you hearing Him? Is that a rare thing? Is it normative? I am not as concerned with whether it is rare or normative or in abundance, but is it being orchestrated by the Spirit of God? Is God having His will done in our midst when we come together, friends having the same care one for another? So, be sensitive and aware of the needs in our midst, and be ready and able to speak a word in season, as the Spirit of God admonishes us, being aware also that one of the things (if we're not careful) that Satan can do--this angel of light--is to get us caught up in the secular, and in projects that are around or needs that might arise. Some of us might be at work when a person comes up to us and begins to tell us about her distress: "I used to go to church, but I don't anymore. I've become pregnant, and times are tough. It's getting worse, and I think I'm going to lose my job. Is there anything you can do to help me?" Yes, there is: Make Jesus Christ the lord of your life. Amen? "No, is there anything practical that you can do to help me?" Yes, there is: Make Jesus Christ the lord of your life. Well, doesn't the Scripture say, "Don't say, �??Be warmed and filled,' when you have the wherewithal to meet their needs?" (James 2:16). Let's put some things into perspective, and realize one thing that is very important. We so minimize this: Our first responsibility is to whom? It's to the household of faith. So, make sure that, in this day, you are not getting distracted; because I want you understand that there will be more needs than you can ever take care of. The enemy will come in and play on your human empathy. If I read my Bible correctly, then, yes, we are to care for those, whether they are saved or not saved, whom we come across. We are to be distributors of alms for God. We are to be a people who are compassionate. We look at the multitudes, but I want to tell you what the remedy is: The remedy is, as we lift up our eyes and see the multitudes (the sheep without a shepherd), that we are to pray the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into the harvest (Mark 6:34, Luke 10:2). The first thing we present is always the Gospel. Whenever we see needs, we first present the gospel; praise God. Jesus preached to them before He fed them. I'm sharing all that to let you see how easily we can get caught up in acquaintances and superficial needs that are not, first of all, the household of faith, and the mandate that has been given to us to commit to faithful men, who will be able to teach to others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
So yes, we are to be available to the multitudes; we are to "go into the highways, and the [byways], and compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23). Oh, but, beloved, there is probably no better example: I wish I had the little booklet right now that was the mandate for service in the Salvation Army; it said, "If you do not meet these requirements, don't even bother to apply." I think I shared from it a few services ago. It was amazing what was being asked. I'm talking about commitment. They were probably the greatest instrument of the time in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They preached a pure gospel with a cross that included forsaking the world that included denying self. They preached a gospel of holiness. They preached a gospel of sanctification, and of talking in tongues; praise God! Let me ask you a question: What do you think of today when you hear the name, "Salvation Army?" Junk! They take your junk. That and the red buckets at Christmastime. "Pastor, what does that have to do with the teaching?" Who are our friends? You see, if there had been proper relationships, that had contended and sharpened, as iron sharpens iron, that were not superficial, but a friend who loves at all times--"Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6)--then maybe the cares and the social gospel would not have come in and strangled out one of the greatest evangelistic associations in our lifetime.
We are going to talk about friendship with the world; and I just wanting you to see that it is not about drugs, and it is not about sex, and it is not about drinking. There's a philosophy of creature worship that's in the spirit of the world, a social gospel of human empathy, of a creature worship, that is so subtle that, if we are not careful in these last days, we will find ourselves on the broad path, only naming the name of Jesus. Oh, things will begin to sound a little fishy because it seems like Wednesday Bible study has become a twelve step program, and classes on sowing, and how to keep your checkbook. Go see what's going on in churches that name the name of Jesus, but are all about the creature: "We are going to help you cope with this life. We are going to help you become a more successful earth dweller," they say, at the very moment that Jesus is preparing His church to leave this earth!
As we talk about being a friend of the world, I want you to understand the spirit that is behind the world. So many of us, as we read the passage out of 1 John [2:16], hear the apostle speaking to us by the spirit and telling us that all that is in the world is lust: the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes--and so many emphasize the lust of the flesh and the lust eyes. But the biggest problem in that list is the pride of life, the pride of thinking, "I can run my own life." That is the spirit of the world; that is the spirit of antichrist. It is the doctrine of the Adamic nature, the pride of life: "I'll make my decisions. I'll provide for myself. I will set my own value system. Then I'll go to the Scriptures to find passages that agree with my will, which will become my favorite scriptures." Some of us are almost afraid to read the passages that require death to self, and of the thought that, possibly, God might put His hand on our wealth, our health, our "Isaac," our will. We have to be careful that we do not become vexed like Lot--on whom we spent a little time recently--with what we are seeing and hearing on a daily basis. I want to tell you where some of the greatest vexation comes from: It comes from "Christian" radio and "Christian" television. That is because most of us here do not give credibility to what is obviously secular. So step back for a moment and ask yourself, "What do I listen to?" "I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that [what?] keep Thy precepts" (Psalm 119:63), as we saw this morning. When we are talking about coming out of the world, we are not just talking about the secular, the lascivious. We are talking about that doctrine of antichrist that is being promoted in too many evangelical fundamentalist churches today. That's what we need to guard our hearts against.
So, I want to take a look at the spirit of antichrist, and what it really means to be a friend of the world. So many of us think that it means to be sold out to the world: absolutely carnal and fleshly and indulging in every available vice. That is not friendship with the world. We saw this morning what friendship means. What does it mean to befriend somebody? We talked about being committed to it. We talked about having affection for it. It is much like the spirit of covetousness, which we have talked about. You remember, the definition of covetousness (and we have talked about that covetous spirit many times) looks at different things--whether it's a job, or money, or prestige, or reputation--and there is a sighing, there is a desire, there is a delight in it. There is something there that is drawing me; there is something that is attracting me.
May I ask, this evening, if the world is offensive to you? I'm not talking about homosexuals or kids with spiked purple hair. (It seems like purple is in right now, if you look at some of these kids.) When we talk about the world, we are not talking about the gay parades in San Francisco; we are not just talking about O-bama. What are we talking about? And what is it in the world that attracts you that you want to associate with? When the Holy Spirit's admonition to us in Corinthians is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17).
Let's turn to 1 John, and we'll pick up there. In 1 John, we want to talk about friendship with the world. We are all pretty familiar with these passages, but I want to see if we can, practically, unmask Satan's tactics so we are not ignorant of his devices. If we ask directly, "Are you a friend of the world?" the majority of us would say, "No." The question, then, we must answer is this: "Do I habitually apply biblical standards, biblical wisdom, and biblical mandates to my life? Do I habitually choose the will of God against my own will?" Do not make the world separate from the same sin that is in your members, and that same Adamic tendency of self-will, pride, and independence. That's what the world is comprised of; and that's what each of us naturally gravitates toward. What am I saying? Don't give yourself more credit for being separate from the world than you should. It is in every one of us. May I use another term? How many of you have sin in your members? Then let's call it what it is: We have the world in our members. The world already exists within us. Now, what makes us different, as believers, is that, when we become regenerated, when we become that new creation, when the spirit man is regenerated and made alive, it now becomes the dominant force. We are now back in relationship with God, reconciled to God, favored of God, the children of God. The things I used to hate, I now love; and the things I used to love, I now hate. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new. But it's still in there, isn't it? How often do you feed that appetite?
Now, what do we have to do? We have to look at it, first of all, not your actions. We are going to talk about fruit and actions, but we need to stop and talk about our intentions--our philosophy. Just as Lot should have done, we have to come back and ask ourselves in which direction our tent is facing on a regular basis, and why it is facing in that direction. "Well, I have no intention, of going to Sodom." You could have pitched the opening of that tent in three other directions: "Make not provision for the flesh" (Romans 13:14); "[Shun] all appearance of evil" (1 Timothy 5:22). How many things do we flirt with in our minds, in our ideologies, in our politics, and in our relationships, that are the mingling of the holy with the profane? It is very important for us to stop and take a look inside. Jeremiah has spoken, and we have talked about it many times: "The heart is [what?] deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).
I wonder how well we are able to analyze our hearts, our intentions, and the course of our lives, for ourselves. How many of you have been able to read the lives of others pretty clearly? You see, the deceitful heart has to do with dealing with self, with the awareness of self. We lie to ourselves as to what the voice of God is, what the will of God is, and why we are doing some of the things we are doing. What I have found--now, it might have been accidental, but I don't think so--the more I have been trying to really look at my own life, the more I see that I don't know if I have ever had a pure motive, a totally pure motive. If I have, I was probably unconscious, and the Holy Spirit spoke through me. We are wicked. "Pastor, you keep talking about how bad we are." That's because we are, but we don't believe it; we still trust ourselves, and we still really think we have got our acts together. And we say, "Bless God; I know my heart." Really? The Holy Ghost, through Jeremiah, said that you don't. Maybe we have some friends who can speak, and help us in our way. Maybe this Word, by reason of use... Do you want to know what will judge your heart? This Word, by reason of use, by habitually applying it, comes and "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). Why don't we let this Bible judge your heart, instead of you?
This Sword that comes in, and judges and discerns: do we compare everything with the Word of God, not proof-texting? Are we children of light, who run to the light, and have fellowship one with another, so that the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from all of our sin (1 John 1:7). Do you, before you make any kind of decision--major or minor--seek Father for His will? If there is any concern at all, would you go to a brother and say, "Speak into my life directly, and tell me what the Word of God says about this decision that I am about to make?" I'm not talking about your deacon; I'm not talking about a pastor; that would be fine, but aren't we to have the same care one of another? (1 Corinthians 12:25). Aren't we to edify one another? What am I saying? We need to protect ourselves in the community of the body of Christ by becoming intertwined with the body of Christ, being subordinate to the Head, Jesus Christ, in His body (the church); and we need to stop having confidence in ourselves, which is contrary to everything that is in us? "Wouldn't that be admitting that I'm weak?" Yes: you are. Do you know what I have found? I'm not weak enough, yet. I am still stronger than I need to be. My will is still stronger than it needs to be. My ability to work things out for my own personal gain, to maneuver, to manipulate things, to achieve things in my own ability, is still too much intact. I want to live to the place where I can say, "Without Him, I can do nothing" (John 15:5), and "For me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21), and "Greater is He that is in [me], than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
I had hoped to get into some of the teaching by now. I just still feel in my spirit, as we are sharing, that we are like Lot, but we don't know it: We are bound; we are consumed with our environment--Sodom. Our minds are wearied by worries about finances, and we look to every secular, natural, way to safeguard ourselves against the crisis that's coming. It is coming; and there is no preparation for it. Only a man's righteousness is going to sustain Him in the hour that we're coming into (Proverbs 11:4-6). "Pastor, you keep saying that! Couldn't it be twenty years away?" Yes, and it could be tomorrow. If we are in the last days, where should we be making our investments: here, or in the things that are above? I'm more concerned with our coming to grips with our own hearts. We made mention of it the other day, and I don't know how it came up, but some of the poor folks here in our church who have tattoos got singled out, and rightfully so: all of these people like Greg--not to mention any names; I don't want to mention any names like Kevin O'Connor. We talked about tattoos, and we talked about dress. Has anybody noticed that skirts are getting shorter? What are we going to do? You see, I have already been through this one time; we had to battle this in California, back when they had the micro skirts, which they wanted to wear to church. All the argument was this: Why are you doing it? "We just think that it is cute." Then why, a month later, were they wearing granny dresses? Was anybody back there with me in the late sixties and early seventies? Do you remember those dresses that went clear to the ground? Right after micros, to the floor--and everybody who had micro hem lines, up here, now had them on the floor. Why? It was because the world was doing it. Stop lying to yourself! You are part of the world. The Bible calls for you to dress modestly; that transcends every trend and every fashion. We can sit here and argue for hours, and people will get on their high horses, and the preachers will preach against it, and so on. I am not going to deal with lengths and widths and such; my concern is that we stop lying to ourselves.
We have talked about it in other areas. You get a watch. I love the story of the lady, a motivational speaker, who came up to speak. She had a five dollar plastic watch on her wrist; and right on top of it she had her Rolex. As she started her motivational speech, she said, "Oh; let me see what time it is." Then she said, "I saw that some you were noticing that I have two watches on. Let me explain: This plastic watch has big black numbers; it's for me to see. The other one is for you to see." Is that the truth, or not? But we cannot always deal with the truth. The way I like to explain it is like this: If you buy something like that, it's really cheaper in the long run, because it's generational; you can pass it on to your children, and your children's children, and their children. Over its lifetime, it really cost only twenty-five dollars. Also, the reason you buy a Mercedes, and not a Chevy, is that they truly are better cars: they last longer, etc., etc., etc. The real reason is for everyone to see it, and so you can say that you are successful; anything else is a lie. It is not a lie that it is better. Well, why not just say that? "Why are you driving that Mercedes?" So you will look at me and know that I am successful; or, you will look at me wonder if I am successful; or, to show off that I am successful.
I know of many faith teachers, back in the day, who absolutely went bankrupt trying to show that they were prosperous by driving Mercedes, wearing two-thousand-dollar suits, and borrowing money to do it. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22). If God does not provide it, I don't want it; praise God. If He does provide it, that is His business; we make no apologies, whether He gives the wherewithal and you choose not to use it, but forgo, and give it away to somebody else, or He gives it to you to use for a while, then you give it away to somebody else. Can you be true to your own heart, and know whether or not it is the world that is motivating you, and control why you're doing what you're doing? How many of you really want to know your own hearts? You will have to spend some time here in this Bible. This is the discerner of the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. You are going to have to get quiet before God. You will have to turn your cell phone off, turn your television off, throw your schedule book away, and get down before God to let Him show you what manner of man that you are; when you rise up, maybe you will see clearly enough to walk in the spirit, and not fulfill the spirit of the world.
Have you found 1 John yet? Chapter 2, verses 15 and 16: let's slow down for a minute and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in these four words: "Love not the world;" that is a commandment. Then there is another distinction: "...neither the things that are in the world." The world is a kingdom; it is a system. It operates under this force of self-will, pride, and independence; and it is diametrically opposed to the kingdom of God. The world began when Adam sinned, and became a separate world. Now, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "The god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ...should shine unto them." This world, being an entity, is not neutral; this is what I want you to see. The world is not neutral; it has a god. It is a separate entity, and the god of this world, Satan, is to be distinguished from our heavenly Father: the Father of Lights, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. I don't want you to see it as an institution without a course, without an agenda; the world has an agenda. I don't want to get into politics, but through this past election people were talking about the Republicans and the Democrats. In reality, one is as bad as the other. They do have different agendas, and many people neglected the agendas, both parties; both of them are wrong. The point I am trying to address is this: People neglected the agendas for personal preferences, things they could identify with, and associations. Many of us relate to the world that way. We think that we can go out there and have certain relationships and join certain institutions and adopt certain philosophies, and dress like and talk like, but not embrace the agenda, the author of which is who? Say it with me: Satan. So, that is why the Lord says very clearly that "friendship of the world is enmity with God;" it makes you the enemy of God, or in opposition to God (James 4:4). There is nothing neutral about the world, so I will say it again: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any many love the world, [what?] the love of the Father is not in Him" (1 John 2:15). Is it possible, do you think? "Surely not! Surely, it's not possible that any of us could be as vexed as Lot was? Surely, we are not, sitting here tonight? We are here tonight because we are victorious--one hundred percent sold out to God, walking in the spirit, and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh." I wonder how many of us are here tonight, having been pulled out by angels, having been preserved against our own foolishness, vexed by hearing and seeing, without a clue about our lives, and think that, because we haven't been destroyed, we are pleasing God, while it is only His mercy that is sustaining us at this moment, only His longsuffering holds at bay His justice and judgment, and forget that God doesn't always strive with men.
What I am after tonight, beloved, is one thing: I want to see those blinders fall off those whom the god of this world has blinded, lest they should see the light of the glorious gospel. That verse is talking to you and me about the light of being able to embrace the cross. Some of us, frankly, are afraid to die. We believe that God is going to take advantage of us, just like everybody else does. "I have to protect myself, even against God." May I share something with you tonight? Give it up; amen? Father loves you; praise God! Frankly, many of us are absolutely terrified to live by faith, not knowing where we are going, such as our father, Abraham. Many of us are terrified to make the absolute, definitive, statement concerning which kingdom we belong to, lest we cut off our network and our associations. I don't want to go there tonight, and I shouldn't necessarily need to qualify it, but I will: I know that we are in the world; I know that we live by the sweat of our brow; but we are not in the world for personal gain. We are compelling those who are in the highways and byways to come; amen? Is the reason that you live to promote this kingdom, the kingdom of light, to preach the gospel? Are we a people who truly have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace? We have to go into the world every day; we are in it, but we are not of it (praise God!), which means we are always in opposition to it.
Do you walk away from encounters in the world without sharing the name of Jesus? Are you looking for opportunities in this day? Everywhere you turn--whether in television, magazine articles, or theaters--have you noticed that one of the main themes of the day we are living in is that everything is apocalyptic? I'm going to get hit by a meteor! No, it's going to be earthquake! No, the ozone is going to go! No, Martians are coming! Who knows? There is a sense of where we are. People are sensing that something is on the horizon. It is Jesus; amen! He is coming for a bride that is without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing (Ephesians 5:27). When He comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8). He is not coming for people who are friends of the world, who are sojourners through church, and citizens of the kingdom of darkness. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any many love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him."
It seems to be one of those "shotgun" nights. I have purposefully been trying not to teach messages, but trying to share what God is speaking to my heart. I have been through a furnace, and I'm still in it, and I'm coming through some things. The spirit of God is speaking to me, and I am just trying to share with you what I am hearing. I think that, probably more than at any time in my life, I can truly say that I have no agenda: I am no longer trying to build the biggest church around, as we did once; I am not trying to build a reputation--I have lost that. I am trying to take care of the lives Father has entrusted to us, and to get as many of us as possible into His presence; and I don't know how to do that. All I know is to tell you what I have heard and, to the best of my ability, to finish this race by His grace and His strength. But I believe the greatest danger to us, the body of Christ, today is the sales pitch of the "Madison Avenue" church: the "easy-believism," the church of tolerance, the church of a confession, a Christianity that has no cross, and requires no repentance or contrition or submission or death to self. It is a popular message; they have all of the voices; they control all of the airways; they build and have the greatest reputations; they rub shoulders with the high power money people and politicians. "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (1 Corinthians 1:26). Amen?
We need to see the church for what it has always been: the weak, the despised, and the hated, who identify with His Lordship and embrace the hatred as a badge of something to boast in. James 4:4: Turn there, and we will finish with this, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world [we talked about friends this morning] is the enemy of God." Now, we have two aspects here: we have this term, enmity, and we have this word, enemy; in reality they are the same thing. To be the friend of the world is to be at enmity with God. I want you to grab hold of this: it speaks not only of hostility, you see; it has its own gospel; it has its own citizens; it has its own philosophy. There is a gospel of the world: they name the name of Jesus and they talk about Christianity, but it is a crossless gospel. It is made up of those who name the name of Jesus but, in the final hour, will stand before Him and hear Him say, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity! I never knew you" (Luke 13:27). It is a church and a gospel that embraces a broad way that leads to destruction. I have told many of you in the past, who say, "Pastor, these people are so great, and they are friends, and they name the name of Jesus, and they talk about this and that." That's great, if they are what they say.
"Why are you seemingly suspicious of people?" It's because Jesus said, very clearly, that He knew what was in man, and therefore He would not commit Himself to them (John 2:24). Some of us want to make commitments, and make friends, and do all of these things, but we don't even know who these people are. "Well, I know who they are, and I've heard that they do this and they do that." Some of us have known each other for fifteen years, but don't know who each other are. Are we to be suspicious? I would say discerning. I would say this: Don't be quick to embrace everybody who says, "Lord, Lord"--who names the name of Jesus. Even the demons believe (James 2:19). How do we make this distinction, and how dangerous is it to associate? We are going to finish with this: hostility, adversarial, hatred. These are the terms, in the Greek, that describe the word enmity or the term "being the enemy of God." "Well, my friends, associations, relationships and involvements are only a little worldly." So, you hate God only a little? You are only adversarial to the Word of God in a few things? The thing I want to encourage us in (and we will cover in our next session--especially as we look through the gospel of John) is to really be able to identify this spirit.
John 12 says that Satan is the prince of this world. I don't want to bog us down with the letter, and I will finish with this: Do you think in predominately natural, carnal, terms? What is your first solution to a problem? Which wisdom do you apply? See, there are two wisdoms. There is the wisdom that is above, and there is a wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and demonic. Which wisdom do you live in? Which do you treasure? Which world has most of your attention: games, business, ambitions, success, marriage, houses, and lands; or edifying the body of Christ, bearing the infirmities of the weak, proclaiming the gospel, seeking the things that are above (where Jesus is seated at Father's right hand), not seeking ease, pleasure and comfort, but embracing a cross, denying self, loving Him more than houses and lands and mothers and fathers. Would you step back and take a survey, and really, really--perhaps, some of us, for the first time--be truthful about where your treasures are, and realize that it is not a condemnation, but the grace of God at this moment delivering you from yourself? Most of us don't need to be delivered from the things of world; we need to be delivered from the world--the selfness, the pride, and the lying to ourselves about what our treasures are when nothing in our life demonstrates that they are above.
Father, help us, in this hour in which we are living, to hear the voice of Your Spirit, and realize the subtlety of the fallen man, and that spirit that lives within us--the spirit of self, the spirit of antichrist, the spirit of the world, which is enmity with God--that is of this one who blinds our eyes, lest we should believe the liberty of becoming Your slaves and that life that comes from personal death. You have said to us, Lord, that the world loves its own. The world loves its own. Am I the good old boy? Does everybody slap me on the back? Does everybody just count me as one of his own? Why are we not hated? Why are we not the offscouring? Why are we not the aliens and the sojourners? Why is the world not crucified to me, and I to the world? Let us be honest, Father, so we can be free. We will give You the praise for that liberty in Jesus' name. (And everybody said) Amen.
Turn to somebody next to you and say, "Love not the world." Praise God! Go in peace; God's love go with you.